Winter in the Pacific Northwest is long. And dark. We are finally starting to turn the corner towards Spring, where the days yield just a tad more sunshine than the day before. You are aware of this fact. But still, as you fight through your battle with depression, it seems the opposite is true. You feel you’re not receiving what you need. There may be more light each day but it doesn’t seem to be reaching you.
Your internal questions have a similar theme: Why is this happening? Why can’t things work out for me? Why is this season of life so hard? You feel ignored, abandoned and isolated. You’re doing everything you can to break through that ever-present dark cloud. But you keep coming back to the same question: Why me?
When depression seems like it is getting the best of you, one solution is to get back to basics. The first is CONNECTION. It is vital to fight the tendency towards isolation especially when battling depression. In the midst of the struggle, we tend to withdraw from others rather than seek to connect. Connection can have a healing effect – especially when you feel alone and that no one understands.
The second basic strategy to bust through that depressive fog is through GIVING. Whether it is helping an individual, a school, or an organization you believe in, generosity can provide a ray of light for those you help. You will also find those rays of sunshine reflecting back to you lightening your outlook as well as your load.
‘A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.’ – St. Francis of Assisi
Giving for the first time may seem like a daunting task. After all, the needs are so vast. Combined with your own internal struggles, it’s hard to know where to begin. St. Francis gives us some insight here as well. ‘Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ You don’t have to be wealthy to help others. You just have to be willing to share what you have; whether it is time, a special skill, finances, or the most beneficial ‘ability’ there is when it comes to offering assistance to others: Availability.
REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) is an organization that I am working with right now. I believe strongly in their mission, which is why I give them my time and financial support. REST has a simple goal: Freedom, safety, and hope to women exploited by the sex trade in Seattle and King County. Knowing that I am connected to an organization that is doing such wonderful work - bringing light to some of the darkest areas of our city, also helps me. It brings me joy to know that I am helping others.
Generosity, the act of giving, is a major depression buster.
Connecting with others helps alleviate the feeling of isolation that can rob you of your joy. We have new life groups starting soon. These groups will provide you with opportunities to connect with other women regularly.
Giving to others can open you up to receive many layers of blessing – one of which is the joy that can be so allusive when dealing with depression. A willingness to share your time, your talents, or your resources can make all the difference in the world; for you as well as those you help.
Start releasing the generosity inside of you today. It is amazing what will happen as you develop the habit of giving. When you hear of needs in your community and an organization is looking for someone who can help, you’ll find that the internal question you ask will no longer be, ‘Why me?’
It will be, ‘Why not me?’
Connect. Give. Those two basic strategies will help you live out the depression-busting truth that St. Francis learned first-hand. ‘For it is in giving that we receive.’
If you are interested in hearing more about REST, contact me or visit iwantrest.com